tv U.S. Senate CSPAN March 22, 2013 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT
the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or to change their recorded vote? if not, the yeas are 99, the nays are zero. the amendment is agreed to. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: missouri to reconsider. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: under the previous order, there will be two minutes equally divided prior to a vote on amendment number 222 offered by the senator from idaho, mr. crapo. mr. crapo: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. mr. crapo: mr. president, could we have order in the senate? the presiding officer: the senate is not in order. senators please take their conversations out of the well and out of the chamber. the senator from idaho. mr. crapo: thank you, mr. president. although it's been a couple of years now since we passed the
health care law, it's becoming evident to all americans that there were, in fact, many new taxes, almost a trillion dollars of new taxes in the health care law. and despite the president's firm pledge at that time not to raise taxes by even one dime on middle-class americans, i at that time asked the joint tack committee to evaluate the law and tell us if there were such took in the law. the letter i received back from joint tax indicated there were at least seven taxes in the health care law that did squarely hit the middle class, and not just in a small way. it's about at least a quarter of a trillion dollars of new taxes that the middle class will pay if we don't fix it. in fact, it's 73 million american families that will ultimately pay this new tax in the obamacare legislation if we don't reform it. so this is an amendment i have brought during the consideration of the health care law. it was defeated then by a claim that there were no taxes in the bill. we now know there are took in the bill. this is just our chance now that
these taxes are beginning to be implemented to remove them from the law. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. the senate please come to order. senators will please take their conversations out of the chamber. mrs. murray: mr. president? it is ironic that a number of those taxes are in the ryan bug that our opponents -- our colleagues voted for just last night, but let me just say this. the a.c.a. is going to extend health insurance coverage to nearly 30 million people. they are mostly low and medical middle class people who don't have access to affordable coverage. the law also fully pays for the costs of expanding health insurance coverage and does it without increasing taxes on our middle class. i believe that expanding health care insurance coverage is one of the most important things we can do for our country and for our economy. the amendment that's being offered would undermine the effort under way to bring health insurance to millions of currently uninsured people in a fiscally responsible fashion, so i urge our colleagues to oppose this amendment and i ask for the
the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the ayes are 45, the nays are 54. the amendment is not agreed to. a senator: move to reconsider. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: move to lay on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, there will be two minutes equally divided prior to a vote on amendment 438 offered by the senator from new hampshire, mrs. shaheen. mrs. shaheen: mr. president, the senate is not in order. the presiding officer: the senate is not in order. senators please take their conversations out of the well.
mrs. shaheen: amendment 438 would establish a deficit neutral reserve fund fupped to protect women's access to health care, including family planning and birth control. it ensures employers cannot deny coverage of contraceptives. we've seen that improving access to preventive care including con troo tra ception is good health -- contraception is good health policy and good economic policy. healthier women and healthier children and healthier families. i urge my colleagues to support the amendment. the presiding officer: the senator is recognized. a senator: every senator supports expanding access to health care. we may have differences on how to it but no one should doubt that commitment. however, we must also ensure we protect deeply held religious beliefs of our citizens. in this regard, the shaheen amendment and the new health care law gets it all wrong.
mr. johanns: in addition to growing government and slowing the economy, the law tramples on the rights of individuals. later this afternoon senator fischer will offer a side-by-side to this amendment. now i ask my colleagues, though, to vote no on the shaheen amendment. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
the presiding officer: any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? the yeas are 56, the nays are 43. the amendment is agreed to. mrs. murray: i move to table. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i ask the quorum call be suspended. mr. president, we are now in a period of two hours of debate equally divided. i understand that senators on that side will begin. i would just notify all senators who are now working through -- we are now working through a process to get the next amendments set in order so that members will know. we do have two hours of debate, but members should know that we may yield back some of that
time, so please be ready. i think everybody has a lot of amendments they wanted to be brought up, and the sooner we can get to that, the sooner we will. so again we will now move to two hours of debate equally divided. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will now be two hours of debate equally divided between the managers or their designees. the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: mr. president, first i would ask consent for additional staff, unanimous consent that the number of budget committee staff for the minority granted access to the floor at one time be increased by two. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, i move to recognize senator coburn for 22 minutes. i also have on our schedule of members, senator collins for 10 minutes, senator cornyn for ten, senator inhofe for ten and senator sessions for eight.
i would at this time yield to senator coburn for 22 minutes and would note that senator coburn is doing something that every member of this body should be inspired by. he is actually looking hard every day to identify the problems that we face with piewply occasion and waste in our government. we do far too little of that and this budget does virtually nothing about it, so i would say, senator coburn, thank you for being unparalleled in your commitment to financial responsibility and would yield to you for 22 minutes. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: first of all, i would like unanimous consent to use oversized charts. i don't actually like the oversized charts, they are hard to use, but i cannot get all the information that i need to present on one chart because i'm looking at one subject area. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coburn: first of all, i'd like to say thank you to the chairman of the budget committee for bringing a budget to the
floor. it's great that we've done it. and we know the outcome of this budget vote already. the final budget vote won't come until sometime in the middle of the night. but in that budget, we'll spend $47 trillion. there is a dispute between how we look at it and you look at it, but there is at least a trillion dollars in new tax increases. the new debt is $10.3 trillion despite a trillion dollars in tax hikes. the debt that has been added since the last budget passed this place is $5.5 trillion. the spending increases above the projected growth over ten years is $645 billion. the spending increases in this budget next year above today's budget level is $162 billion. the deficit increase next year relative to fiscal 2014 projection by c.b.o. is a $95 billion increase in our
debt. we're not going the other way. growth rate in the federal budget over ten years is going to be 60%, and in the mandatory programs it's going to be 80%. so we're going to have the government growing at least 7% a year, continuing to grow at a rate faster than our economy, a rate faster than personal income. the net deficit reduction over that ten years over what was projected may be $270 billion. the deficit reduction achieved through spending cuts will be zero in this budget. zero. through spending cuts. the deficit reduction through elimination of duplication, fraud and waste in this budget is zero. the date this budget balances is never. i'm bringing these charts out here because i want the american people to know how we're not doing our job.
and we're going to get a vote on a lot of these things. i have told my colleagues i haven't been allowed to offer a lot of these amendments on the bill that will come on the floor, so we are going to vote on them tonight and into the early hours of tomorrow morning. the reason you need to vote on it is because the american people need to know whether we're going to act on this or not. so let me just start out and go through some of the programs and see if it matches any type of common sense that anybody in america might have about how you would go about helping american citizens. if i can get this to work. so we two and a half -- three years ago, we forced the g.a.o. to do a duplication study of the whole federal government. we're going to get that last report about a week and a half from now. they will have looked at the whole federal government. this is just the data based on the first two reports. let me just go through it rather
quickly, so you can see we have 15 unmanned aircraft programs, five agencies, $37 billion a year. why do we have 15 of them? does that make sense to anybody? we have domestic food programs, 18 different programs, three different agencies, and we're spending $62 billion. we have 21 different homeless programs, 21 different homeless programs. it's great it's only run through one agency, but why do we have it 21 separate programs? each one of these programs has a bureaucracy and office staff and overhead and administration. why not have one or two? transportation services for transportation-disadvantaged persons. 80 separate, different, distinct designed programs and eight other agencies. why not in the transportation agency alone? why not run it out of the department that it should be run in?
job training and employment, 47 programs for the able-bodied, nine different agencies, and it's actually $18.9 billion. and we have actually done all the oversight on this. in oklahoma, we have 17 federal run job training programs in a city that has less than 15,000 people and has 400 people unemployed. 17 separate offices run by the federal government. teacher quality, 82 separate teacher training and quality programs. not run from the department of education. run from the department of education and nine other agencies. how does that fit? when we're in a time when we're trying to make hard decisions to protect the week of this country and a fiscal balance, why won't we address this? none of this stuff has been addressed. it's been known for two years. none of it is in the budget.
it's not even in the house budget. food safety, 30 different programs, 15 different agencies, $1.6 billion. do you realize that if you buy a cheese pizza at the grocery store, it's controlled by the department of agriculture. but if you buy a pepperoni pizza at the grocery store, not the v.a. plus three other agencies. economic development, we have 80 agencies, four different -- 80 programs, four different agencies, and $6.5 billion a year. u.s.-mexico region water needs.
all right, we have arizona on that border, we have texas on that border, and we have california on that border. we have seven different agencies that control that. why? why would we do that? financial literacy programs. i'd make the point that we're not very good in financial literacy within the federal government because all you have to do is look at our budget. 13 different agencies, 15 programs includes the new financial consumer protection board is going to create another one, another one. we're spending $30 million a year on that. green buildings. 94 different programs, 11 different agencies, spending a billion dollars a year, housing
assistance, 160 different programs, 20 agencies, 20 federal government agencies spending $170 billion a year. the overhead that's associated with all this, the duplications that's associated with it, the complications, the paperwork, the department of justice grant programs, 253 of them, they are department of justice, but they are run through ten other federal agencies. not the department of justice. diesel emissions, 14 different programs, three agencies. why three? why do you have to interact with three different agencies? to have your diesel emissions controlled? and why are there 14 different programs? early learning childcare, 50 programs, nine different agencies, $16 billion. surface transportation, 55 programs, five agencies,
$43 billion. support for entrepreneurs, 53 programs, four different agencies, we have got a small business but guess what, we have one in agriculture, we have one at treasury, we have one somewhere else i can't remember. $2.6 billion. science, technology, education and math. we all agree it's important. the pentagon has over 100 programs. the pentagon itself has over 100 programs. and then we have another 105 or so programs spread across the rest of the agencies. 13 different agencies have a science, technology and engineering. why is that in the department of education? as i finish this, i won't go to the next chart just on the basis of time. i just outlined a whole bunch of different programs, not one of them has a metric on it that
says we're successful or unsuccessful. not one of them. each of these agencies have multiple programs run across multiple organizations. what we have discovered on job training is that we're real good in job training with federal programs of employing people in job training. we're terrible in terms of giving them a life skill that will give them a lifetime work capability. let me take a short time to show you some examples. you can see why we have such big charts. here are the federal preschool and daycare programs. so if you want to provide that to somebody, look at the maze of bureaucracy you have to go through just to qualify. and the pink areas show the different departments that run
them, the blue arrests are -- areas are the sub agencies created out of the green ones. in federal preschool and daycare, we have general services administration that has four programs. we have the department of agriculture that has this multitude of programs, but even if you have the department of agriculture, you can't do anything because you have to talk to the department of education, too, because they are interrelated in how they are controlled. early learning justice department has a multitude of programs. department of health and human services has a multitude of programs. we even have tax -- a tax expenditure program for childcare and early learning. department of labor has their own. so you can see what has happened to us is we haven't done the oversight, the work to eliminate the problems that are causing us to spend at least $200 billion more per year than we need to
spend. so here's the federal programs for surface transportation and infrastructure. you can see why this is so big. here is the federal highway administration and here's all their sub programs for it, and then over here is the office of the secretary. then you have the federal railroad administration, the maritime administration, the federal motor carrier safety administration. if you're a state transportation director, you have to meet the bureaucratic requirements of every one of these other programs. i talked about science, technology, engineering and math. look at what we have. what we have is a maze that
nobody in the government knows what the other agency is doing. nobody knows what somebody over here in the mickey leland energy fellowship funding is doing compared with the new area rural competitive technology grants program. here's the other thing we found as we have gone through all these programs is that we have people who apply for a grant, people who apply for a grant and get it from one of these programs, turn around and go over and apply for the same grant from another program. so it is easy to see when you can continue to see multiple programs. even to get efficient in our federal fleet we have five different programs, 20 different agencies just to try to put fuel efficiency in the federal government.
we started out with electronic health records systems for veterans and military, we have ten different programs within that. not one program. not two. but ten. just one other. here's green buildings. we listed that. multitude of agencies, multitude of programs. every department in the federal government has a green building initiative separate and apart from a central area where it ought to be, probably associated with the national institutes of standards and technology. that ought to be who is really running it, but it's not. so we is have all these things, all these required rules for you to comply with if you're going to get a building permit or have
any federal contracts. so it makes no sense. so i will end up -- mr. president, how much time do i have left? the presiding officer: the gentleman has eight minutes remaining. mr. coburn: nobody in their right mind will agree that what we're doing is smart, efficient, effective, and associated with common sense. but yet when it comes to doing the hard work of oversighting and eliminating these duplications, nobody in the senate wants to do the hard work of eliminating them. a conservative estimate is we send out $670 billion worth of grants a year. a conservative estimate. is that $200 billion of that is totally wasted.
and we're sitting here squabbling about raising taxes, this budget raises it a trillion over ten years, if we would do our hard work in terms of -- mr. president, there's so much distraction in the senate right now, i can't talk. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. coburn: if we would simply do our job, we wouldn't have to have tax increases. we wouldn't have to have spending cuts that will gut our military although i can show you a of waste -- a lot of waste in the military too. if we would do our job and look in actually the way the g.a.o. has recommended and the government avarious has oversighted a thanks to the leadership of lieberman, collins, carper and those that proceeded them, we have all this research, we have all this knowledge, all this stuff we
know we can do but we have no leadership in the senate to get it done. and we bring a budget forward that perpetuates everything i just showed. there's no mandate for every committee to eliminate total duplication in this budget. there's no mandate in this budget to consolidate like programs and eliminate cross-agency interference and duplication. there's no mandate in this budget that every grant program ought to have a metric on it to see if it accomplishes it. there's no metric in this budget to give the agencies the power and resources to actually administer the grants effectively so we know what they're doing. none of that. this is all ignored. so as long as we say the only problem is saving medicare and saving social security, and saving the defense department, we will continue to waste $200 billion a year. and i don't know what it is. i don't know if it's -- i'm not an effective communicator, or
people have other priorities, but our grandchildren are totally dependent upon us eliminating so much stupidity. and yet nobody, the appropriations committees don't want to, most of the authorizing committees don't want to, they won't do the hard work of eliminating the duplication. you know, i didn't show the housing. i showed the total amount we spend. do you realize we had paid an a housing administrator in oklahoma for two years in a town that had no homes? we cleaned it out because of lead contamination but a we kept paying the housing administrator for two years. till i found it. why are we paying this guy? there's no homes. i mean those little things multiplied by a billion times throughout government programs
happen every day. and then we go tell americans we're going to raise your taxes because we won't do the hard work of oversight? we deny our oath when we do that. but we also deny the best tendencies and the tradition of this country. we can do a whole lot more with a whole lot less money if we would take care of this problem. but leadership is lacking on doing it. and as long as we have our eye on the ball of saving medicare and saving social security, and not our eye on the ball of the things that are really spending money that we're get no value for or very limited value, we're going to continue to be in trouble as a country financially. even if we do save medicare and social security. every dollar should be precious to us that the american taxpayer pays into this country.
you know, our foreign aid budget, tbheefer talk about it, foreign aid -- we never talk about it, foreign aid, our foreign policy hasn't been reauthorized for years. there hasn't been a full-time inspector general in the state department in six years. we have seven open spots for inspector generals to actually look at this stuff and to advise us and advise the agencies. so we're failing to do our job. and my only wish of my colleagues is to get informed, and if you're on a committee, you don't have to solve it the way i'd solve it, but just solve it. it makes no sense to continue to duplicate things. as a matter of fact, in job training, here's what g.a.o. said. of the 47 job training programs for nondisabled people -- we have another 53 for the disabled. of the 47, all but three do exactly the same thing.
all right? so either g.a.o. is lying or they're not. if they're not lying, why wouldn't we in the next two months in this place fix those programs, to make them where they're actually giving real skills that will give a real livelihood to people who need real job training? no effort at all to do that. the house just passed a bill. and it barely passed because every one of these squares that you show up in any one of these charts has a constituency. in other words, they're dependent on money coming from the federal government. so even though it's not efficient and not effective, our colleagues don't want to irritate anybody getting that money because we're more interested in getting reelected than fixing the long-term problems of our country.
all you have to do is go to our web site, coburn.senate.gov and you'll need an anti-emetic if you read about the waste and fraud and abuse that's going on with federal government programs. and this budget doesn't address any of that waste. you realize $220 billion is $2 trillion over ten years. if you just fix that, you'd help pull us out of a big hole. that's $2 trillion that has very low economic multiplier in our economy versus $2 trillion that might have. i'll end on this last point. last year, we gave $4 billion out to foreign countries who own more than $100 billion of our debt. now, i want -- ask the typical
american. we're borrowing money from china and we're giving them foreign aid. and they own over -- well, they own $850 billion of our debt. why would we do that? we're in debt, we're scrambling, we're borrowing $40 million a minute, and we're taking the money that we're borrowing from china and turning around and giving it back to them in foreign aid? why would we do that? it just shows you how out of control all the processes are in washington because we failed to be informed and hold the administration -- whether it's a bush administration or obama administration, all of them are guilty. and the reason they're guilty is because we aren't raising the questions. so i'd ask my colleagues, you're going to get a vote on a lot of this stuff, a lot of my amendments have bipartisan support, but we're going to vote, you get to vote on
whether you think we ought to eliminate duplication. you'll have 17 separate votes on that. i'll try to wind those into two votes. vote against fixing it and then go home and tell americans you want to raise their taxes a trillion dollars. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. coburn: and you do not want to eliminate the stupidity going on in washington. i thank the chairman and the ranking member for the time. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. warner: i just want to take one moment before i yield time to the senator from delaware to --. the presiding officer: there will be no expressions from the gallery. mr. warner: i commend my friend, the senator from oklahoma, who has made this a passion. i would acknowledge this is a challenge that transfers between administrations. when i was governor of virginia under the previous administration we tried to consolidate work force training programs, we still had those 47 programs, were not able at the state level to consolidate into
a more meaningful approach. i recall when i first came to this body and thought let's at least find the low-hanging fruit and found those programs that both the bush administration and the obama administration had agreed were duplicative and unnecessary, 16 programs, a billion dollars, with a billion here, a billion there, you're talking about real money. i am happy to report 11 of those 16 programs have been eliminated, but the fact is that there are those that both administrations have agreed upon have not been eliminated. that means there is more work to be done. i would simply point out to my friend from oklahoma that there has been legislation that you and the ranking member and the senator from delaware who also has worked hard on these issues supported two years back called the gipper bill, a bill nobody has ever heard of, government performance results modernization act. in that bill for the first time ever, starting this year, there is a requirement that each
agency of the federal government identify not only those programs that are most successful but those programs that are the least successful. so regardless of whether the administration, republican or democrat, there will at least be some beyond just o.m.b. putting forward information that says where the actual agencies themselves think they are not getting good value for the dollar. mr. coburn: would my good friend, senator warner, through the chair take a question? does he know the number of agencies in the federal government that actually know how many programs they have in their agency? mr. warner: i know the answer to this because we have talked about this in the past. i know there is not that answer because we do not have a complete list of all the various programs. mr. coburn: there is one agency in the federal government that knows all their programs. only one. department of education. they actually put it -- publish it every year. they have actually done a great job. i compliment them. not one other federal agency actually knows all the programs that run under their auspices.
thank you. mr. warner: i would simply say to my good friend, the senator from delaware, this has been also an extraordinary passion of his, and i know as chairman of the government affairs committee along with the ranking member from oklahoma this will be a great area of interest and focus. with that, i yield ten minutes to the senator from delaware. mr. carper: this reminds me of our church. every now and then the minister is going full steam and preaching, he says i know i'm preaching to the choir but even choirs need to be preached to. the folks on the floor, senator warner, senator collins, dr. coburn, no more democrat or republican is more committed to figure out how do we get better results for less money in everything we do. even the choir needs to be preached to and we just had a
pretty good sermon. i have a couple posters here i want to share. i think they might be of some interest and value in this discussion. i like to think of spending that we're trying to rein in to get under control. three elements. one of those is entitlement spending which is now over 50% of what we spend in the federal government and it's growing. we have something called discretionary spending which includes defense, and the domestic program that's not entitlement spending, not medicare, not medicaid, not social security. and then you have got interest on the debt. that's pretty much it. that's pretty much it. and if you look at, again, entitlement spending, medicare, medicaid, social security, other things that we're entitled to, over 50% and growing. as it turns out, a part of our budget that is being squeezed is the discretionary spending. some of that's defense. about half of that is nondefense discretionary spending. that includes everything from transportation to agriculture to housing to education to homeland
security and a whole lot of other things as well, and then there is defense. if you take a look a minute and look at this chart, we'll find that this gray line here is actually nondefense discretionary spending. it started out in 1971 as about 4% of spending. today four percentage of g.d.p., and as of today, it's about four percent as well. the budget that i believe we received from the house of representatives actually -- where they actually go after spending is in that money, and that money and that includes work force development, includes education. it includes infrastructure, roads, highways, bridges, rail, ports, all the above. it includes investing in r&d, r&d through the national science foundation, national institutes and health, and creates among other things goods and products
we can sell all over the country and all over the world. under the house-passed budget, that money, instead of spending about 19% of our budget for nondefense discretionary spending, i think we would end up down around maybe 4%. about 4% for all nondefense discretionary spending. 4% of our budget. that's not consistent with the priorities of many of us, including those on this side of the aisle, including our own congressional delegation. if you look at -- if you look at a different -- let me see what we have got here. we have health care. this is a good one. health care as a percentage of g.d.p. i mentioned that medicare as a percentage of our entitlements including medicare as a percentage of our budget is now over 50% and climbing. if you look at health care as a percentage of g.d.p. in this country, we're the green line, and what we see from 1961 down to about 2010, the green line
keeps going up and up and up and up. today health care as a percentage of gross domestic product in this country is about 17%, almost 18%. i think the next closest country is -- let's see, purple, it would be france. we're way ahead of anybody else. we're like twice as high as the japanese, for example. we spent about 17%, 18% of g.d.p. they spend about 8%. they cover everybody, they get better results. when you have health care, the big part of medicaid spending, medicare spending, in fact all of it and it's growing like topsy, entitlement spending grows, continues to grow, we have got to do something about that. the discretionary spending part of our budget has actually been going down about 40% over 40 years by a significant amount of money. today it's about less than a third of our total spending. if you combine defense and nondefense discretionary spending. so what do we do about it?
what do we do about it? what we try to do about it on our side -- and the budget reported out a lot of input from senator warner, a lot of input from senator sanders on our side. great leadership i think by senator patty murray who is the chair of the committee. they have come up with a budget that is before us today that says all right, we know we can't continue to spend like we're doing. we have got to rein in the spending not only on the entitlement side, on the -- but also on the discretionary spending side, and we need to raise some revenues. they go back and take a page out of the clinton play book from, gosh, 12, 13, 14, 15 years ago when we had a big deficit, not as big as this, but they adopted a deficit reduction plan, engineered buyer skin bowles and the president's chief of staff, and they did a deficit reduction plan in 1997 with bipartisan support that said for every dollar of spending that we cut, we raise a dollar of revenues. and we ended up with four balanced budgets in a row. the budget that comes out of the
budget committee is similar in that it's dollar for dollar, dollar revenue, dollar deficit reduction on the revenue side or dollar on the spending side. but unlike what happened 12 years ago, -- 15 years ago, actually, we don't get to a balanced budget. if there is a fault in the budget that's come out of the budget committee, while it reduces our debt, publicly held debt as a percentage of gross domestic product from about 73%, 72% down to about 70% in ten years, it stabilizes the debt and starts to bring it down as a percentage of g.d.p. we still will have a budget deficit of over a trillion dollars ten years from now. is that good enough? we need to do better. we ned to find ways to save more money. we need to do it without savaging old people and poor people. we need to preserve these programs for the long haul. in our caucus yesterday, we had great presentations from some of the smartest people, economists
and doctors. they gave us a lot of good ideas. we ned to do those and more. on the discretionary spending side, senator collins who has previously chaired the homeland affairs government affairs committee, senator coburn and i have the privilege of leading it today, and we focus literally every day as an oversight committee trying to do oversight over the whole federal government which is a whole lot for one committee to do. we do it in conjunction with, in partnership with g.a.o., the general accounting office. we work off of their high-risk list, high risk ways of saving money. every two years they give us this great to-do list. we work on it from our committee. we work on it with yek. we work on it with o.m.b., the office of management and budget. we work with the inspector generals across the government. we work with nonprofit groups like citizens against government waste. our whole idea is to focus on wasteful spending. as we ratchet down the spending, figure out where are we getting good results and where are we not. in the programs where we get the
kind of results we want, we fund them more. in the programs we are not getting the results we need, we close those programs, reduce those programs. that's the way it ought to be. that's the way we're trying to do it. let me see if i have another chart here that might be relevant here. when bill clinton was president, the last fouriers of his administration, they negotiated a deficit reduction deal with the republican house and senate in 1997, and dollar for dollar, dollar revenue, dollar of deficit reduction on the spending side, and for folks four years we had a balanced budget, revenues as a percentage of gross domestic product went -- correct me if i'm wrong, but i think it was about 19.5 to 20%, right in that range. last e.r.a., revenues as a percent of g.d.p., down around 16%. between 15% and 16%. even with the fiscal cliff clear that was adopted earlier this year, it will be up to about 18% of g.d.p. by the end of the ten-year period. and i would suggest that there are three things we need to do here. number one, we need to build on
the plan that's come out of the budget committee. it's a good start but it's not -- i like to say it's not the finish line. it's a good start. we need to find additional savings and entitlement programs that, one, save money, do not savage old people and poor people. and three, preserve these programs for the long haul. we need in addition to that revenues. we can do that by closing deductions, loopholes, credits. we can means test a bunch of the -- but we need to come up with the revenues and get closer to 20%. and the last thing and really in conjunction with what senator coburn was saying, we ned to look at every nook and cranny of the federal government, every nook and cranny of the federal government, from a to z, agriculture to transportation, everything in between, and ask this question -- how do we get a better result with less money in everything we do? it's not just the responsibility of our committee, homeland security and government affairs, it's all of us. we're in this together. it's the administration. it's the taxpayer groups. we're all in this together. if we're going to get to where we want to be and that is a
fiscalically sustainable road map to the future, it has to be all hands on deck. it has to be those three things -- entitlement reform, some additional revenues, and really squeeze every dime on the spending side and move from what i call a culture of spendthrift to a culture of thrift, where the budget resolution gets us going, gets us headed in the right direction. we're going to meet up with the house in a conference committee. their vision, our vision, and that's when the real hard work begins because out of that i hope we end up with a real focus on those three things, because if we do, if we can work together with the administration and the president provides the leadership we need, we'll get to where we need to go in the future. thanks so much, and i yield back. thank you. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i would yield ten minutes to senator collins and would note that i see the leader -- that she has been a leader in governmental reform through the committee that she chaired and has been ranking member on and would value her insight at this time. the presiding officer: the senator from maine.
ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. and, mr. president, let me thank the ranking member of the budget committee for all of his incredibly hard work on this issue. mr. president, it is a hopeful sign that the senate is finally debating a budget to set priorities for federal spending and revenues in the coming year. while i'm disappointed that we failed to perform this fundamental duty for the past four years and that the budget reported by the budget committee is unfortunately a partisan one, i nevertheless welcome this budget today. i'd like to describe the amendments that i will be offering to the budget resolution later today. the first of these amendments is
number 144. it would create a deficit-neutral reserve fund for the purpose of correcting obamacare's definition of what is a full-time employee under the law. this amendment would allow employees to work more than 30 hours a week without triggering possible penalties on the businesses that hire them. obamacare requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide qualified health insurance to their workers or face onerous penalties. these penalties begin at $40,000 for businesses with 50 employees, plus $2,000 for each additional full-time equivalent employee. these penalties, mr. president,
are a huge disincentive for any small business that wants to grow and add new jobs. one maine business i know happens to have 47 employees and would like to hire more but won't because of these penalties. another employer told me that she's better off financially if she were to cancel the health insurance that she provides to her employees and instead pay the fines. the fines are cheaper than paying the health insurance premiums for her employees. what perverse incentives obamacare has. greatly adding to the problem, obamacare defines full-time employees as averaging just 30 hours of work a week.
this definition is completely out of keeping with standard employment practices in the united states today. according to the bureau of labor statistics, the average american works 8.8 hours per day, which equates to 44 hours per week. g.a.o. in looking at this issue uses 40. we pay overtime after 40 hours a week. the number of hours set by obamacare as full time is workers employed by a business, thus exposing that employer to the risk of substantial
penalties. now, here's what the consequences are. some businesses are restricting their employees to no more than 29 hours per week to ensure that their workers are considered part time under obamacare. mr. president, if more businesses follow suit, millions of american workers could find that their hours and thus their earnings are cut back at a time when many of them are already struggling. my amendment would allow for legislation setting a sensible definition of full-time employees for the purposes of obamacare penalties. this would help to protect workers who otherwise will find their hours curtailed and their
earnings cut as a result of the requirements in the obamacare law. i would note, mr. president, that this affects a wide range of employees, and that's why you have the m.a.m., the national association of manufacturers, and the n.e.a., the national education association, strange bedfellows indeed, both supporting my amendment. mr. president, the second amendment i'm offering is amendment number 459. it calls for sensible regulatory reform. its provisions are based on a bill that i've introduced in the past called the clearing unnecessary regulations burden act or the curb act. this bill is designed to ease the regulatory burden on our nation's job creators and is supported by our nation's
largest small business advocacy group, the national association of independent business. my amendment would require federal agencies to take into account the impact on small businesses and job growth before imposing new rules and regulations. it does this in three ways. first, it requires federal agencies to analyze the indirect costs of regulations such as the impact on job creation, the cost of energy, and consumer prices. second, it prohibits federal agencies from circumventing the public notice and comment requirements by issuing unofficial rules known as guidance documents to avoid the reviews that are required under executive orders. and third, it helps small businesses avoid unnecessary
penalties for first-time, nonharmful, paperwork violations. mr. president, the third amendment that i will offer is amendment 143. it would simply require the president, vice president, and cabinet-level officials to purchase their health insurance through the exchanges established by the affordable care act or obamacare. obamacare requires individuals to purchase qualified health insurance or face a penalty. those who cannot obtain coverage through their workplace or another source are required to purchase insurance through the exchanges that would be created under this law. now, obamacare specifically requires most members of congress and staff to obtain
health insurance through exchanges. well, if the exchanges are good enough for members of congress and their staff, then surely that same requirement should apply with respect to the president, vice president, and cabinet-level officials. so my amendment would extend this requirement to them. finally, i'm also pleased to be cosponsoring an amendment with my colleague, senator casey of pennsylvania, to prevent government waste in the job corps program by requiring the long-overdue implementation of financial management, internal controls, and you wanted program integrity protocols at the employment and training administration. mr. president, what has happened with the job corps
program is an utter disgrace. this important program has significant shortfalls that are caused entirely by the inexcusably poor management by the department of labor of this program for two years in a row and job corps is expected to be in a shortfall again next year. the impact has led the administration to suspend new student enrollment into the job corps programs. these programs are critical for at-risk youth. they provide education, training, job skills, and it is a disgrace that the administration has had such terrible management here in washington that furloughs are happening and students are being
denied --. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. i hope my amendments will be adopted later today. mrs. murray: how much time is left on both sides? the presiding officer: the senator from washington has 47 minutes remaining. the senator from alabama has 23 minutes remaining. mrs. murray: if it's okay with the senator from alabama, i see some folks on your side -- mr. sessions: that would be appropriate. mrs. murray: i i thank the senator from virginia and this has been his lifelong passion and i believe he's done a great
job, really a good partner to work with and i appreciate all he has doing. i yield ten minutes to the senator. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. warner: let me first of all again thank the chair in her good work 39-ing together this budget -- putting together this budget as i believe is a great first step as we try to resolve this issue. the senator from washington has mentioned has become my passion in this body. i absolutely believe that getting our debt and deficit under control, getting our country's balance sheet right has almost become a proxy for whether our democratic institutions such as the congress can actually work in the 21st century. and i think this debate debate that we're going through is an important step in that direction and we're about to proceed under the part of the debate where a host of amendments will be put up and debated and decided upon but it's my hope sometime later tonight or early tomorrow morning we'll be able to
conclude this process and be able to move on to the next step. as i listened to my colleague, particularly my colleagues on the other side i want to make three quick points in my brief time. because there's an awful lot of agreement actually between us. i think we all realize that in addition to trying to get our tax policies and our spending policies right and i agree with the senator from oklahoma there are areas of duplication that dan be improved upon, i would point out one of the amendments that this budget committee did put forward in a bipartisan fashion, the majority and the minority worked together on, was looking at that area of work force training programs for further consolidation. we can not just in work force training but across government find better ways to combine our programs, get more effective use of our tax dollars and i look forward to working with members on both sides of the aisle to do that. i'd also say while we've got this problem about -- about how we're going to raise our revenues and how we're going to
spend, you know, that an important component of all this is about how we grow our economy. and one of the challenges that i find in the proposal mostly from the house that appears to be the proposal endorsed by many of our colleagues on the other side is, i'm not sure their budget proposals really lay forward a growth agenda. into the day countries just as private companies and i spend 20 years in business, longer in business than i have in public life, they've got to have a business plan. fully good -- any good business plan investses in people, in your equipment and a plan to stay ahead of the competition. countries do the same. we call it investments in education, infrastructure and and. and -- and r&d. and qufl, unfortunately, the proposal put out by the side by the house would cut our government's investment in domestic discretionary spending from what is already at a very meager rate, close to the
eisenhower administration rates, we spend about 16 cents on every federal tax dollar on all of our discretionary spending programs combined and over a period of time their plan would take that 16 cents, to less than 5 cents. i spent 20 years investing in business. i would never invest in a business that spent less than 5% of its revenues on its work force, its plant and equipment, and staying ahead of the competition. no country can stay competitive against an emerging nations like china and india, brazil, a europe that tries to -- facing financial crisis, trying to reset itself as well. any of those nations are spending a larger percentage of their federal revenues or their national revenues on training the work force, building the roads, airports, broadband, ports, trying to do the research and development that creates intellectual capital and
wile will drive our economy in the 21st century. every other nation in the world we compete with has a much more aggressive business plan than the business plan that would have been put forward by the house. and, unfortunately, would be put forward by many of our colleagues on the other side if we per allowed to cut domestic discretionary spending at the levels they propose. we've also heard a lot of discussion on this floor about revenues. i don't think anyone wants to be taxed more than is necessary. on either side of the aisle. but this enormous, enormous hub hubbub from the other side that says we have a spending problem but refuses to look at the other side of the balance sheet, as a business guy, i find that troubling. i agree there are a number of areas where we need to cut back spending. but if we look at revenues on an historic basis, if we look at revenues on the basis of when america had the fastest growth rate in recent times, during the 1990's, during the 1990's
under president clinton our nation added jobs at a record level. our nation made innovation, innovative grant, innovation and discovery of great new intellectual property at an unprecedented level. an america that in the 1980's we'd seen our best days came roaring back in the 1990's. you know, i didn't hear much in the 1990's during those periods of growth of enormous complaints about our tax code. yet because of those investments and because of that growth, early in the century around 2003, i think this body and both parties were part of it, made a mistake on assuming the roaring good times are goaferggoing to last forever and on the revenue side we cut $4.5 trillion over a ten-year period out of the revenue side. anybody that's run a business knows you got to look at
spending, got to look at your revenues. we took $4.5 trillion out of our revenue stream at the same time we doubled defense spending, increased spending on hiewrpt, went to war cries twice entirely on the credit card, provided benefits for prescription drugs and had the normal aging process. many of those spending initiatives were supported by both sides but when the music stopped, we realize we had a structural budget deficit that now accounts for $16.5 trillion in debt that goes up by $3 billion a night and while we have to take steps to rein in spending, we also have to realize not to grow government but to pay our bills we have to put some of those revenues back in the revenue stream if we're ever going to get to some level of budget or some level of balance. well, what does this side of the aisle propose? they said we need to go willy-nilly and go out and dramatically increase taxes even beyond what was proposed in the
1990's? no. did folks in this budget on the democratic side say we at least ought to put 70 cents of that $4.5 trillion back into the revenue stream? no. did we say we ought to put at least half back into the revenue stream? the answer is no. this budget combined with what we did on new year's eve puts approximately $1.575 trillion over a ten-year period back in the reef knew stream, literally only one-third with what was taken out in the bush tax cuts. yet people say this sounds apoplectic. as somebody who will match my business credentials against anybody in this body, you got to look at both sides of the balance sheet. we got to find ways to rein in spending but we also have to find ways to make sure we have a revenue stream to allow us to
meet our obstacles. final point i'd like to make, because i know my colleague, my good trend from oklahoma, wants to rise as well, and that is i believe very strongly that we have to get a handle on our entitlement programs. medicare, social security are the two most successful programs our government and for that matter any government around the world have ever implemented. and we need to make sure the promise of medicare and social security are going to be here for our kids and our grandkids. and around some of those programs, some of the basic math has changed. when i was a young person, there were 16 people working for every one person on medicare and social security. today it is three. in is a years it will only be two. so we do have to make changes. this budget starts us on the path. on top of $700 billion in
entitlement changes that were part of the affordable care act, and if we're going to make comparisons of apples to apples, and this et goes a little bit technical and i'll try to be very brief, but i've not heard a lot of my colleagues acknowledge this, when this debate around debt and deficit real politicked up steam, rulely started back in 2010 with a lot of the very good work, the bipartisan work done by the simpson-bowles commission that pointed out that we'll on an unsustainable path and if we didn't take action, we would send our nation over a fiscal cliff. in the simpson-bowles report, they pointed out that we needed to make substantial changes. for example, in medicare and medicaid. well, they actually proposed changes that would have amounted to over roughly $400 billion in sakes over a ten-year -- savings over a ten-year period. what is remarkable and is notmansed is that because -- and
is not mentioned is that because whether it is a recession, reforms in the affordable care act, the rate of increases in our entitlement programs have dropped dramatically and independent of the $275 billion of entitlement savings in this budget, based upon the assumptions that were made in 2010, based upon the center for budget priorities, in 2020, because of the declining rate of increase of cost, we will have an additional $500 billion in health care savings that are already built into this proposal. so, i would just simply finish up -- i'd ask unanimous consent for an additional 30 seconds. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. warner: i would simply add and say that i want to again commend this debate we're having. i want to commend members on both sides of the aisle. but as i've said at the outset, no budget is going to be perfect for every member. but this is a credible, important first step in this process, one that i think we can all be proud of, and i look forward to finishing this debate
and moving on to the next stage to make sure that we put this question of our nation's balance sheet in order and can move on to the other important issues our country faces. thank you, mr. president. mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama of the. mr. sessions: i would yield to my colleague and friend, senator inhofe. senator inhofe, i told you, i think, eight minutes. this says five. i'm not sure what you were told. mr. inhofe: i would respond to my good friend, i'll take eight. mr. sessions: five minutes and if you need to go over there, we'll understand. mr. inhofe: all right. thank you very much. mr. president, we've been very much involved, not just myself but the senator from alabama and several others in this whole sequester strags thing. & the longer we have these hearings on that the more we come to the realization that we're not sure a lot of the things that we're doing in these cuts are actually going to have the effect of cutting. now, if they did, our concern would be with the fact that this
-- the defense, which consumes 18% of the budget, would be getting 50% of the cuts. that is over and above for this president has already done projecting out ten more years at $48 billion of cuts. now, the sequestration is projected to be the way it was drafted, the obama sequestration, an additional half trillion dollars. i remember when the previous secretary of defense was there. he used the word "devastating." it was devastating. now, one thing that has not been observed is that it is a possibility that some of the things that are on there are designed to be done and will actually cost more money. let me share with you some quotes by some of the military. first of all, the department of defense comptroller hale said, "we would also be forced to disrupt as many as 2,500 investment programs, driving up costs at the very trail time we're trying to hold them down."
that particular part of this could actually cost more than the cuts. general odierno, he said this in one of our hearings. he said, "the army agrees that the hidden costs of sequestration may actually nullify any savings anticipated to be gained through sequestration." then again it could actually cost us money, not save us money. admiral ferguson said the same thing. liked his statement. he said, "much like an automobile, an owner who chooses to skip a series of oil changes today to realize near-term savings, eventually his decision will result in the need for a costly engine overhaul later. the downstream costs of canceling maintenance," which is what is going to have to be done under sequestration, "is both reduced operational availability and much higher did h depot levl repairs in the future."
now, this is something that was understood by the chairman of the armed services committee and i when senator levin and i jointly signed a letter to the budget people saying that we have the problem that sequestration could cost more. and we recommend that in those areas where it costs more that we would add $16 million -- that would be one third -- add d 16 million to the o.d.o. accounts so that that could be used in the event -- only in the event -- that we find that we are spending more money on that. now, this is, as i say, is a -- i did give a copy of this letter as a reminder to the chairman of the committee, senator he have will in. -- senator levin. so all we're doing is what we requested be done some time ago. most likely it will not cost anything and is not scored. this is the o.c.o. account and
it is increasing it to -- let's see ... it would be is $16 million now. to $66 million. it is interesting in the budget that came over from the house, it was $95 million. this is considerably less than that. i think it is a good thing to do and i honestly believe it will enjoy enough support that we'll be able to get it with just a voice vote. i can't imagine anyone being against it because what we're saying is if in the area it's costing more then we will have something to cover that rather than coming out of the defense budget. now, i'm not going to take a long time on this other one. i don't have this yet assured that we're going to have a vote on it, but i think it's very important. there are a the although of us in here -- and i dare say a majority of us in the united states senate are looking at this united nations arms trade treaty and looking -- thinking, why in the world would somebody want to give, to cede to the united nations or to any
multinational group the power to make determinations as to whom -- with whom we trade arms? i mean, we may have an ally out there that maybe the united nations doesn't agree with and that would be able to keep us in a treaty from trading arms, and i'll cite israel as an example. so i have an amendment -- amendment i 139 -- that i am gog to try to get a vote on. this may end up being the only vote that is addressing this real hot issue of guns right now. that's all we've heard about in the last few weeks. and i'm just going to tell you the actual wording of this so that we're not hiding anything. if you are for gun control, you won't like this. if you were for the multinationallists being in a position to determine with whom we trade, you're not going to like this. to show you what this is, i will
read the new language in the bill. it says, "uphold second amendment rights and prevent the united states from entering into the united nations arms treaty." i'm going to try very hard and encourage my -- the leadership to allow a vote on this very significant amendment. and i would say, if you could pull out maybe three or four amendments, of all 2900 -- 200 amendments, this would have to be one that most people would consider a very significant amendment of i would old mention one other thing. i am not going to bring this up, but i do have an amendment that was amendment number 282. some of the people in states like alabama and oklahoma recognize that our banks were not the problem. we didn't have problems in my state of oklahoma of when we talk about the state banks and community banks, we are in a position to take care of our needs. we should not be a part of it. so this amendment, which -- then
i'll close -- but this amendment merely says that we're going to come forgo forth with legislati, draw a distinction not just on dodd-frank, but a distinction between community and state banks and federal banks. the latter is where the problem is. let's don't try to correct something, fix something that doesn't need fixing. with that, i will yield the floor. the last thing, if i could, i ask unanimous consent that the letter from senator carl levin and me dated march 1 be a part of the record at this point in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator? washington -- the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i suggest the absence of a quorum and i ask that the time be divided equally between both sides. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
objection. mr. enzi: i i rise to stock talk about the spending decisions and the future of our children and grand chin. i'm one of two account tangtsz serving in the united states senate so the purpose of the budget resolution makes a lost sense to me. it is a blueprint that lays out spending priorities for the country for the next fiscal year. back in my common days, made sure that the ledger was balanced. i would look carefully line by line to see what was being spent. if it didn't balance, i looked at what could be trimmed from the overall budget. to do that i would sit down and prioritize what was most needed to make the business work. and what could be cut with the least impact on the businesses or its customers. i would also look at where the businesses might be duplicating some of its efforts and what could be cut there. but that's not what we're doing in this exercise. we're not taking a serious look at spending and making the necessary and tough choices about what we can afford. we aren't even ail to vote on spending items that both sides
agree are duplicative and wasteful as we saw during a week-long exercise on the c.r. that passed yesterday. the we should be asking every agency to prioritize what they do, from the best to the worst. then we'd be able to compare that list with the wasteful and duplicative items that have been identified, including some by my colleagues like senator cobun. he has been tireless in his effort to identify thes these spending items and bring them to the attention of the senators and the american people. then we should cut the things that the federal government isn't doing well. we could also use the principle behind my 1% spending reduction act also known as the penny plan. this is a bill that's a simple and direct plan-to-a chief the spending cuts necessary to balance the budget. it would accomplish the task by cutting a single penny from every dollar the government spends for every year for three years and end with a balanced budget after these thro -- after these three years. each agency and program within
that agency could determine their priorities and decide where to cut 1% of their budget. guaranteed if given the choice, agencies and programs i hope would cut the least important, the least likely to affect staff. they'd cut what they could do without, in other words. and every business and every agency those things. the problem is that every program has a constituency. every program has folks that are telling me ar my colleagues, yes, we understand the need to cut spending, but my program is an integral part. so don't cut me, cut someone else. at this point we have to step up to the plate and say there are no easy choices left. if we all feel a lit bit of pain now, we can avoid the pain we'll face if we continue to kick the can down the road. we have to get serious about providing a blueprint for future spending that provides a path to a bawsmght we need a blueprint that funds the government and necessary programs but takes an honest look at where taxpayer dollars are going and makes
changes to spend less and spend more wisely. some of my colleagues across the aisle have talked about providing for future generations in their comments on budget resolution. well, this budget we're providing for future generations, we're providing them with less prosperity and fewer opportunities by refusing to make some hard decisions and saddling them with unpaid trillions of dollars in billions. i have three children and four grandchildren that live in wyoming. many colleagues have children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews across the country and we have to make tough choices on we have to make them now. this budget resolution doesn't do that. instead it's another missed opportunity, another ledger that just doesn't balance. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum and that the time be equally divided. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i recognize the senator from texas, senator cornyn, for six minutes. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. sessions: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: and i would
recognize senator cornyn for up to six minutes. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, tomorrow marks the third anniversary of the affordable care act, a law that president obama said would reduce health care costs and strengthen our economy without forcing anyone to lose their existing coverage and without raising taxes on anyone making less than $200,000. those were the promises of obamacare, but over the last three years we've seen the reality, which is far different. reality number one admits the slowest economic recovery and the longest period of high unemployment since the great depression. obamacare represents a $1 trillion tax increase that will affect all americans, not just those making less than $200,000. indeed, obamacare is a tax increase that will affect everyone from young people with
health savings accounts to middle-class workers with families to senior citizens on fixed income. it's a tax increase that will punish investment and hinder medical innovation, a tax increase that is already discouraging job creation and already hurting the economy. reality number two: obamacare has not solved the problem of rising health care costs, and in the years ahead it will make the problem much, much worse. remember during the 2008 campaign, president obama told us that his health care plan would reduce -- would reduce -- familiar premiums by $2,500. and yet the cost of family premiums have increased by nearly $2,400 between 2009 and 2012. and once the president's health care law is fully implemented, premiums will soar even higher. all we need to do is look at the front page of the "wall street journal" which reports that
health insurers are privately warning that premiums for many individuals and small businesses could increase sharply next year because of the health care overhaul. but the nation's biggest firm is projecting rates could more than double for some consumers buying their own health plans. the truth is young people will be hit the hardest, people the age of my daughters: 31 and 30 years old. the american action forum recently projected premium costs for young healthy americans will increase by an average of 169%. such a dramatic increase in health care premiums will come at a time when middle-class workers and families are already struggling to make ends meet. after all, the median household income in america has fallen more than $2,400 since 2009. reality number three: even if you like your existing coverage,
you probably won't be able to keep it. according to the congressional budget office, seven million americans will lose their health insurance because of obamacare. another study estimated 30% of employers would drop their employees from their employer-provided coverage. in short, millions and millions of americans who want to keep their existing coverage will be forced to give it up, which brings me to the reality number four: for starters, obamacare is a massive job killer because, number one, it increases a new tax on medical devices that's already prompting companies to reduce investment in the united states and lay off workers, including my home state of texas. michigan-based striker has shut down two of its facilities and is cutting 5% of its workforce. the indiana-based cook medical
canceled plans to build five new u.s. manufacturing facilities. and new york-based welch allen is slashing its workforce by 10%. in texas, more than 66,000 jobs in the medical technology industry would ranks as among the top ten states nationwide, those jobs are at risk. according to one study, the medical device tax could destroy as many as 1,400 jobs in texas alone and reduce our economic output by $252 million. this tax will also hamper innovation and reduce patient access to advanced medical devices. not surprisingly, the medical device tax is facing strong bipartisan opposition. in fact, last night 79 members of this legislature, of this senate, republicans and democrats alike voted to repeal it. 79 out of 100 senators voted to
repeal it. unfortunately the medical device tax is not the only job killer in the president's health care law. but as we consider this litany of broken promises and as we sort through all of the unintended consequences of obamacare, i can only shake my head and n frustration. three years ago this chamber had a unique opportunity to pass common sense, market-driven reforms that would have made health insurance more affordable and health care more accessible while safeguarding the doctor-patient relationship and boosting our economy. i believe we can still achieve those goals, but the president's health care law now three years after it was passed remains a huge obstacle standing in our way. that's why i support an amendment to the continuing resolution that would have defunded obamacare, an amendment to the budget that would have repealed it. both of these amendments were introduced by my colleague, senator cruz. and along with senator cruz, i will continue to push the
president's health care law with more sensible alternatives. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. sessions: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i thank senator cornyn for his remarks. i think it is a cautionary tale to us that when you pass a bill, and with a very stated idea from the democratic leader in the house that we'll find out what's in it after we pass it, then you know we're in trouble. this is a monstrosity of a bill that has 1,700 -- talking about obamacare now -- it has 1,700 references that say we'll execute this legislation pursuant to regulations to be
issued by some nameless, faceless government operative somewhere. it will bind and affect the very health care of millions of america. i've become more and more convinced it just will not work. the budget that's been presented to us today fails to meet the challenge of our time. it does not alter, confront or reform and put on a safe path our important social security and medicare programs, both of which are heading to deficits and disaster. they need to be fixed now. the sooner we fix them now, the better off we'll all be. and it can be done. it just requires some willingness to stand up and be counted and do the right thing. there's no reform of the wasteful government duplicative spending that goes on. senator coburn just went through a whole litany of duplicative programs. 47 job training programs, many,
many education programs, huge duplication in highway programs throughout different agencies and departments of of the government. we know those exist, and nothing has been done about it. it does not alter the debt course we're on. and, in fact, it keeps it at the same rate. it says we're going to raise $1 trillion in taxes, and we're going to cut spending $1 trillion. and this is the balanced approach. we've been told that over and over and over. this is the balanced approach. but that's not what the budget does. it does indeed raise taxes at least $1 trillion; really more. it authorizes. and it increases spending. so the net result of this budget over ten years is to have no effect on the deficit even though it raises taxes $1 trillion. so a balanced approach in the terms of my democratic
colleagues is to raise taxes $1 trillion and raise spending $1 trillion. that's what it is, and it's irresponsible. i am a bit baffled by the willingness of my colleagues to proceed in that fashion, representing the budget to be something it's not. i think they have a guilty conscience perhaps. we've been trying to keep up with how many times they've used the word "balanced." how many times in the last two days has this democratic -- speakers all across the board. they have had their talking points. they have had their poll testers language. and if you've got an unbalanced budget that does not change the debt course, leaving us on a financial path that c.b.o. director said is unsustainable -- and it does that. but you know the american people really want a balanced budget, so you say we've got a balanced approach, a balanced plan, a
balanced priority. and that kind of thing. you use that word over and over with the idea it seufrpgz into somebody's -- sinks into somebody's mind, and then they begin to believe you've got a balanced budget. but we don't have a balanced budget. it never balances. we have t has no goal of balancing, no closer to balancing the current baseline, current law we're spending on. now we've calculated that the numbers have gone up every hour 201 references on the floor of the senate to balanced. and it just now begins to highlight the fact how unbalanced this is. how unbalanced this budget is, how it just does not do what we need it to do, mr. president. back when i opposed the nomination of jack lew, who was the chief of staff and o.m.b.
director to be secretary of commerce, secretary of the treasury, we talked about his first budget. and it was the same way. they decided in the early 2011, after the 2010 shellacking to produce a budget that had, didn't come close to balancing. so they had a little problem because the american people had just whacked the big spenders in the 2000 election. so what did they decide to do? they just said it would balance. and he said, we're spending only money that we have. we've got a budget that doesn't add to the debt. we've got a budget that begins to pay down the debt. all three of those things were utterly false. the lowest single deficit in his own numbers he submitted to us was $600 billion. that was the least year that he had in his entire 10-year budget of what the deficit would be that year, $600 billion deficit,
yet he said we have a budget that pays down the debt, we have a budget that spends only money that we have and a budget that you can be proud of. and that's what we've had here. i hate to say it. our colleagues have produced a budget that utterly fails to alter the debt course we're on. it raise taxes but it doesn't use the taxes to reduce the deficit. it uses the taxes to fund new spending. it really does. i thank the chair. so that's the concern we have today, madam president. and we'll head now into the votes. i think senator murray budget -- i thank senator murray for allowing us to have free ability to speak and debate. we don't agree on these issues but we will head into an afternoon that hopefully will allow our members a full opportunity to get a vote on amendments if they believe strongly in them.
we hope we don't have needless amendments, that members are looking and understand the needs of our time. i would yield the floor. mrs. murray: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: madam president, how much time do i have left? the presiding officer: 30 minutes. mrs. murray: madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. mrs. murray: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: madam president, the only time left on -- in debate right now is democratic time but in the spirit of bipartisanship i will yield five minutes of our democratic time
to the senator from nevada. mrs. sessions: thank you, madam president. very gracious. mr. heller: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from nevada. mr. heller: i want to thank the senator from washington for providing time. thank you so much. i rise today to discuss three of my amendments that i've filed to the budget. heller 293, 476 and 477. my first amendment deals with an issue that's very important to my home state of nevada. and nearly a dozen western states, where a bird called the safe graws is found. because of its broad impact, i'd like to thank senators hatch, crapo and risch for sponsoring this amendment also. the department of interior has engaged western states to get management plans to address the endangered species act listing of this bird. never is one of several states that have convened task forces to develop recommendations for their respective governors to serve as a foundation for
state-level sage grouse management. these state plans are designed to conserve the species and its habitat while maintaining predictable land use policies as well as the ability to foster a healthy economy and preserve the western way of life. these goals can only be achieved if states, the federal government and other concerned stakeholders use this opportunity to forge a partnership under the e.s.a. my amendment simply reaffirms the importance of this partnership. it ensures that states can continue to be drivers in ways to find a balance between economic development and reasonable protection for wildlife. my other two amendments, heller 476 and 477, deal with another important issue to nevada and this country; namely, veterans. my first amendment is a straightforward amendment that says the department of veterans affairs needs to ensure that they nee meet the needs of a grg veteran population, our female
veterans. as the dynamics of our armed forces are changing, so, too, are our veterans. this measure simply calls on v.a. to take into account the population of female veterans when planning, leasing and building infrastructure that will how's veterans. ensuring that our female veterans have a lock on their door or a separate wing in the v.a. facility or a separate restroom ensures a level of safety and privacy that should be provided without question. last congress i introduced legislation that focused specifically on meeting the needs of female homeless veterans. my amendment builds upon this legislation to ensure that it includes all v.a. facilities. another important component of our growing homeless veterans' population are their dependents. my other amendment, heller 477, simply ensures that dependents of homeless veterans who are receiving services at a v.a. facility shelter are -- are eligible for services as well. in las vegas last year, there
were more than 1,300 homeless veterans roaming the streets. some of these individuals have their children with them. right now, if a homeless veteran brings their child to a v.a. facility for the night, that facility is not authorized by congress to provide services to that child. my amendment ensures that children of homeless veterans, veterans who bravely fought to preserve our freedoms, are not turned away from receiving services if they are with their parents at a v.a. facility. i urge my colleagues to support these amendments, and i yield the floor. thank you, madam president. mrs. murray: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
mrs. murray: we have about 12 minutes remaining. i would ask unanimous consent to give two minutes of my time to my colleague for his closing ranches i'll takclosingremarks. i'll take the last ten minutes. we'll be starting votes right after that. mr. sessions: i thank senator murray. she has been a great person to work with. she is moved us forward. i've always felt that when she made a decision, it was justified. she is kept us under control but let us fuss and complain a bit. the content of the plan that the majority has now moved forward i think explains why they've had difficulty revealing it from the beginning, and it's because i.t. not the kind -- it's not the kind of budget that can be defended. honest people can disagree on policy, but there really cannot
be disagreement on the need to change our nation's budget course. the house budget changes our debt course while the senate budget does not much senate budget increases smatches tafs, increases spending and during that ten-year period another $7.3 trillion will be added to the debt. there will be no real deficit reduction. academit never balances. republicans have given opportunity after opportunity through votes to produce a balanced budget, but that has been rejected. the massive debt we've wracked up to -- racked up to finance our government is pulling sown economic growth today. this is so important for us to understand. gross debt, over 0e% of g.d.p., weakens growth, not tomorrow. it's weakening growth today. in other words, the more money we borrow to bail out our government and keep checks flowing creates debt that pulls
down wages, jobs, and job creation. soy it's time to -- so it's time to stop shielding the government bureaucracy, which is rulely hurtinhurting -- which is really hurting people today. there is nothing vitte virtuoust it. they are enriching the democracy at the expense of the people. when they demand more money, they're saying that reform does not count and is not important. just send us more money. we are not at fault. so i would conclude and just say, we've got to move away from a budget and a plan that enriches the bureaucracy at the expense of the american people. and i thank senator murray for her courtesy. mrs. murray: madam president? the presiding officer: th the senator from washington. mrs. murray: thank you, madam president. i want to thank all of my completion in the senate, particularly my ranking member, senator jeff sessions, for their
valuable contributions to the debate that we have had over the last days and weeks. while there are clear areas of disagreement about how to strengthen our economy and restore our nation's fiscal health, this www.a productive conversation -- this was a productive conversation and one i hope we can build on in the coming weeks. if there is one thing we agree on, it is that we all like the word "balance." a critical part of my role is making sure the voices of the american people are heard in the budget process. i believe that budgets are about far more than numbers on a page. they are about the values and priorities of the american people, and in their daily lives, families across our country will feel impact of the plan that we lay out in a budget, and they deserve a seat at the table. that's why one of my first hearings as chairman, we invited inspiring americans to speak about how the federal budget impacts their day-to-day lives and the opportunities they've had to reach their own goals.
a mung woman from new hampshire named katie a. tended my hearing. she grew up in a low-income neighborhood. her parents didn't go to college but they wanted the best for their children. thanks to a great public schoolteacher, hone couraged haherto aim high, katie ann wase to go to college and now she is giving back to her community as a urgent-care nurse. tara marks spoke at our hearing. tara never expected to find herself in poverty but when she was hit by hard times, she temporarily depended on food stamps. tara if i recallly believes that without help when she needed it the most, she would not have been able to get bag on her feet. we heard from patrick murray, a veteran in "operation iraqi freedom." i explained that after suffering severe injuries while serving
his country, federal support helped him live independently and focus on finishing his degree. the stories of katie ann and tara and patrick are just a few of the millions we must keep at the forefront of this discussion because the interests of hardworking americans must come first in our decision-making. i am proud that the senate budget my colleagues and i put forward does exactly that. the first priority of our senate budget is creating jobs and economic growth from the middle out, not the top down. with an unemployment rate that remains stubborning high and a middle class that has seen their wages stagnate for far too long, we cannot afford any threats to our fragile recovery. that is exactly why our budget responsibly replaces the harmful and ash terror cuts from sequestration, removing an unnecessary burden on our
economy that would lower unemployment -- lower employment by an almost 750,000 jobs this year alone. and, madam president, following the advice of experts across the political spectrum, the senate budget invests in education and job creation, targeted through infrastructure and training initiatives, while putting in place a responsible plan for deficit reduction over the long term. to secure strong-based economic growth in the future, our budget invests in our greater resource: the american people. by strongly supporting high-quality education from preschool through college and career training. as my colleague, senator warner, said so eloquently here on the floor, we've got to stay ahead of our competition. so our budget supports federal r&d which will help us make sure that growing industries and the jobs that come with them in the united states not in china or
india. madam president, this budget also recognizes that getting our debt and deficit under control is crucial to our nation's economic strength in the coming years. so our a senate budget puts forward serious, responsible deficit reduction that reflects the recommendations of bipartisan experts and the values and priorities of the american people. back in 2010 the simpson-bowles fiscal commission recommended finding about $4 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years. this has become, as we all know, the benchmark for other serious, bipartisan petroleums. -- bipartisan proposals. building on the $4 trillion in deficit reduction, our senate budget punishes us past that $4 trillion benchmark with $1.85 in deficit reduction evenly divided between responsible spending cuts and new revenue from the
wealthiest americans and biggest corporations. this budget cuts spending responsibly by $975 billion and we make some pretty tough choices to get there. and taking the balanced aproarvetion the american people have consistently called for, our senate budget matches those responsible spending cuts with $975 billion in new revenue, which is raised by closing loopholes and cutting unfair spending in the ttac in the taxr those who need it the least. this shouldn't be controversial. there's bipartisan support for reducing the deficit by making the tax code more fared and efficient. if our senate budget is enacted, the total deficit reduction since the simpson-bowles report will consistent of 64% spending cuts, 14% tax rate increases on the rich, and 22% new revenue by closing loopholes and cutting wasteful spending in the tax
code for the wealthiest americans and biggest corporations. and we will have put our debt and deficit on a downward, sustainable path. this is a responsible approach. it is a balanced and fair approach. it's one endorsed by bipartisan groups and experts, and it is one supported by the vast majority of mehr. -- majority of american. the senate budget takes the position that the solution to our fiscal challenges will not be found in deep cuts to programs vulnerable families depend on. it maintains crucial services that mothers like tara and millions of other families struck by hard times have used as a way to make ends meet while they recover. and, madam president, the senate budget preserves and protects medicare for seniors today and into the future. as senator stabenow explained on the floor so well yesterday, medicare is vital to the health and well-being of more than 50 million seniors and americans
with disabilities. upholding our commitment to seniors and helping struggling americans get back on their feet is not just good for our economy, it is the right thing to do. madam president, i realize there are serious differences between the parties, and in the last few years it has been especially polarized here in congress. but the house has now passed its budget resolution. we will be working here in the senate to pass ours sometime later this evening. we have presented very different visions for how our country should work and who it should work for. but i am hopeful that we can bridge this divide. as we look ahead now, i urge my colleagues to think of the millions of americans like katie ann and tara and patrick. i urge hem to think of the millions of middle-class families across the country who are looking to all of us to get this right, families who want us to invest in them and their communities. who want us to focus on the economy and on opportunity and
the future. who are not looking for a hand handout, just a hand up when they need it -- a government that works for them during the good times and the bad and who desperately want us to break through this gridlock and end the dysfunction that is hurting our economy and costing them jobs. they are what this debate is about. they are who sent us all here to represent them. madam president, the senate budget works for families. it is a balanced and responsible plan that will tackle our economic and fiscal challenges in a way that puts the middle class and broad-based economic growth first. when this comes up for a final vote tonight, i'm going to be proud to vote for it, and i hope all of my colleagues will do the same. when this passes the senate, by the way, the work is far from complete. i will be working with chairman ryan in the house and anyone else who's interested in coming together to make some compromises and to get to a balanced and bipartisan deal
that the american people expect and deserve. it is not going to be easy, but i am hopeful that it can be done. and i know the families who sent us here expect nothing less. so i want to thank senator sessions again for working with me on this. we have different views on many issues, but i'm proud of the work we did together to make sure that we had a robust and fair debate in the committee and here on the senate floor. and i also want to thank all of his staff who has worked so hard, all of our staff who is continuing to work -- all of them -- very hard behind the scenes to pull this together. and i want to thank all of my colleagues again on the budget committee for contributing their ideas and their thoughts and their values into this resolution. i believe we have a very strong budget here. i'm proud to vote for it, and i'm very glad to have worked with so many people to get us to this point, and hopefully here in not too many hours we will have passed a budget in the senate and can go to work for the american people. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the senator from alabama -- madam president, i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: madam president, the senator from alabama has asked for two minutes, and i would be happy to oblige hip as we're trying to work out an agreement on votes. the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: how much time? the presiding officer: two minutes. mr. shelby: i'll try to be careful and quick. i want to thank the distinguished senator from washington for yielding the time. i rise today, madam president, to once again express my concerns about the fiscal problems facing our nation. thus far this year, i've held public meetings in 61 of my
state's 67 counties. and without exception, my constituents' top concern is our nation's unsustainable debt and its effect on job creation and economic growth. alabamans know the federal debt currently stands at nearly $17 trillion, yet they see that the democratic budget before us does not balance, not in ten years, perhaps not ever. they know that the federal debt is increased by $6 trillion under president obama. yet, they see that the democratic budget proposes to pile on $7 trillion more. my constituents know that excessive taxes are choking job creation in this country, yet they see the democratic budget calls for $1.5 trillion of new job-killing taxes. they know the stimulus package was an abject failure. my constituents understand, madam president, that the more we borrow, the more we must pay
back in interest. yet, they see that under the democratic budget, we will pay more in interest on the debt -- $791 billion -- than we will spend on national defense. and they know that fiscal reform without entitlement reform is meaningless. yet, they hear no mention of entitlements in the democratic budget. madam president, it's been 1,423 days since the senate passed a budget. my constituents waited that long for this. there's little wonder that trepidation over our nation's future is so prevalent. no dominant power in the world -- in world history has remained strong with a weak economy. not the persians, not the greeks, not the romans, not the british. not anyone. under the democratic budget, our nation would learn that lesson the hard way. thank you, madam president. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i would ask unanimous consent that the privileges of the floor be
mrs. murray: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murra murray: murray: i hae unanimous consent for a committee to meet during today's session of the senate. i ask this request be agreed to and be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: madam president, i thank all of our members for their patience. i think we've an agreement put together here and we'll be able to get going. so i would ask everybody's attention. i would ask unanimous consent that the next amendments in order to be called up after the disposition of the republican side-by-side amendments to shaheen number 438, be the following: menendez number 651, coburn number 409, whitehouse number 652, blunt number 261, boxer number 622, hoeven number 494, durbin number 578, murray
number 653. and collins number 144. and that the only second-degree amendments in order prior to the votes in relation to the amendments listed above be the following amendments to the durbin amendment number 578: enzi number 656, ayotte number 657, and baucus number 658, to be offered in that order en bloc, that notwithstanding all time having expired on the resolution, there will be two minutes equally divided prior to each vote with the exception of the vote prior to the enzi second-degree amendment to number 656 to durbin number 578, where there will be 40 minutes, 10 minutes each for senators durbin, enzi, ayotte and baucus or their designees; that the order of votes with respect to the second-degree amendments to durbin number 578 be the following: enzi, ayotte and baucus. that upon disposition of the collins amendment number 144, the majority have the next amendment in order. and, finally, after the first vote, all will be 10 minutes.
the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mrs. murray: thank you, mawd. madam president. again, we're now going to be starting a series of votes. i would ask members to stay? chamber. we're going to be very strict on the time in making sure we move through these. and again, i would ask all senators to please respect those senators who are speaking -- the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mrs. murray: as i said, please respect all the senators who are being heard, keep your conversations in the cloakroom and be ready to vote. with that, madam president, i believe we are starting on the first amendment. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. a senator: i would like to call up amendment 239. mrs. murray: and i would yield one minute to the senator from colorado. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from colorado, mr. udall, proposes amendment numbered 239. mr. udall: madam president, wildfire threatens communities all across my part of the country, the west, but i dare say all around our great country. and that's why i'm proud to partner with my colleagues,
senator barrasso, wyden, bennett, merkley and others from the west, to introduce what's a commonsense, bipartisan and deficit-neutral amendment to the 2014 budget. we need to reduce the federal budget deficit. we all agree that's important. but if we don't invest in fire fighting efforts and mitigation, that will levy an unacceptable steep and avoidable cost upon colorado and our entire country. so my amendment would allow for an increase of $100 million in funding available for wildfire suppression. i want to yield time to my friend and colleague and cosponsor, senator barrasso, to speak on this amendment. mr. barrasso: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. i'm pleased to offer -- to cosponsor the udall amendment 239. communities in wyoming and other western states continue to be threatened by wildfires stemming from excessive fuel loads in our national forests, continued drought, and excessive beetle killed timber. i'd speak in favor of the amendment. thank you, madam president. the presiding officer: time as expired. mr. sessions: madam president, i would suggest we could do this
by voice vote. mrs. murray: madam president, our side is amenable f. both senators agree, we'll do this by voice vote. the presiding officer: the question is on the amendment. hearing no further debate, all those in favor say aye. opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendment is agreed to. mrs. murray: move to reconsider. lay it on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: i have an amendment at the desk, number 630, and ask for its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from nebraska, mrs. fischer, proposes amendment numbered 630. mrs. fischer: madam president, i ask that the reading of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. fischer: thank you. madam president, i rise today to offer a side-by-side amendment to senator shaheen's amendment number 438.
my amendment defends the rights of employers opposed to subsidizing certain health care services because of conscious objections or religious beliefs. we've all heard from employers, hospitals, and physicians who've told us about their concerns with inadequate exemptions for those with religious objections to certain types of health care services. in my home state, the nebraska medical association passed a resolution in 2012 calling for increased protections of conscious rights for licensed physicians. i'm pleased that this amendment does just that. the amendment does not add a dime to the deficit. it provides the quality of women's health care and it defends the conscious rights and religious principles of employers and physicians. i strongly encourage my colleagues to support this important amendment, and i ask for the yeas and nays on my amendment. mrs. murray: madam president? the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be.
mrs. murray: madam president? the presiding officer: the yeas and nays are ordered. the senator from washington. mrs. murray: madam president, this amendment would allow any employer and -- or insurance company to refuse to cover any health care services for women based on their own religious beliefs and moral convictions that have nothing to do with the health needs of those denied coverage. the compromise put forward by president obama ensures that religious liberty is respected while ensuring that women can get access to the health care that they need. last year, judge carroll jackson, who was appointed by president george h.w. bush, ruled in support of this compromise, saying, "federal religious freedom law is a shield, not a sword. it is not a means to force one's religious practice upon others." i urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment. the presiding officer: all time has expired. the yeas and nays have been
the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber who wish to vote or wish to change their vote? seeing none, the ayes are 44, the nays are 55. the amendment does not pass. mrs. murray: move to reconsider. move to lay it on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: mr. president? the senate is not in order. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. mrs. murray: for the information of all senators, that vote went a little bit over. we are not going to let votes go over. if you're not in the chamber, you will miss votes. we have got to be able to do this in order to move ahead
expeditiously. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. mrs. murray: so i would just let all senators know, you leave at your own peril. so with that, i am going to turn to senator menendez for offering his amendment one minute. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, i call up -- the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. mr. menendez: i call up amendment 651. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from new jersey, mr. menendez, proposes amendment 651. mr. menendez: i ask to waive further reading of the amendment. the presiding officer: it is so ordered, without objection. mr. menendez: mr. president, this is a side by side to senator coburn's amendment, and while i stand in strong opposition to the underlying amendment of senator coburn, i do recognize the need for a comprehensive examining to the current medicare wage index system.
h.h.s., -- the presiding officer: will the senate come to order? mr. menendez: h.h.s., metpac and others have issued very detailed reports highlighting that very fact, showing that the current system is full of special add-ons, reclassifications and other conditions that restore the overall system. but that in essence would create so much harm in so many hospitals across this nation, from alaska to new hampshire to nevada, california, colorado, connecticut, rhode island, just to mention a few, that it is mistaken. our effort is to look at this cohenly, -- comprehensively, look at the entire medicaid index system. we should not be picking out one small provision that does so much harm to so many hospitals across the country instead of addressing the system as a whole. i'm joined by this with senator warren, senator cowan, senator lautenberg and others. i urge us to address this issue in a comprehensive, responsible
way. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: you might want to hear the other side of the story. my amendment reverses the $4.6 billion that were taken from rural hospitals all across this country and given to two states. every member of this senate's rural hospitals lose money based on the earmark that was placed in the affordable care act. all this does is reverse that. there is nothing in here about wage and neutrality with the senator from new jersey's amendment, which is the whole problem in the first place, and the cosponsors, i'm sure, of the two states that have markedly benefited at the expense of every other rural hospital across this country. so a vote for the menendez amendment keeps us in line, continuing to take $4.6 billion over the next ten years out of rural hospitals. if you vote for my amendment, we
the presiding officer: does any senator wish to vote or change their vote? if not, ayes 49, nays 50. the amendment is not agreed to. without objection. a senator: laid on the table. the presiding officer: so moved. mrs. murray: mr. president, you want to call up the next amendment? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma, senator coburn. the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: there's no tricks in this. all we're trying to do is reverse what was done inappropriately to rural hospitals throughout the country. no question we need to do adjustment on wages. that's for another time when we try to save medicare. all states but two over ten years will increase the payments to your rural hospitals back to
what they would have been had the amendment by senator kerry in the affordable care act not been there. that's the whole purpose. bring us back to where we were. and i believe the senator from missouri --. the presiding officer: is the senator offering the amendment? mr. coburn: i ask the amendment be called up. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from oklahoma, mr. coburn, proposes amendment numbered 409. mr. coburn: if there is no opposition, nobody on my side wanted to speak. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: there was never made in the number for the white house amendment for this sequence of votes and i ask unanimous consent the whitehouse amendment number 646 be put on the list instead of the whitehouse number --. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mrs. murray: the amendment the
senator has offered would reverse a provision in the affordable care act which required that medicare's index area be spread budget neutrally through the nation. i recognize medicare's area wage reimbursement system does require a thorough review and revision but the amendment in front. us now singed out one -- singles out one provision that ignores the larger payment reform. i believe congress should have a larger discussion on area wage index reform within the committees of jurisdiction and i urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment. i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or change their votes? the yeas are 68, the nays are 31. the amendment is agreed to. the senator from washington. so ordered. mrs. murray: lay on the table. the presiding officer: so ordered. mrs. murray: we're ready to call the next amendment. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: mr. whitehouse: may i call up amendment 646. the presiding officer: the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from white house, at the end of title 3 add the following, section 3, deficit neutral reserve fund -- mr. whitehouse: i ask unanimous
consent the further reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: so ordered, unanimous consent. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, and colleagues, we have a new pope, pope francis, who said last week that our relation with god's creation is not very good right now. god's creation runs by laws, the laws of nature, the laws of physics, the laws of chemistry, and god gave us the power of reason to understand those laws. but they are not negotiable. they are not subject to amendment or repeal. and arrogance of our thinking that they are is an offense to his creation. we can ignore obvious facts, we can ignore the essentially unanimous science, our generals and commerce, we can ignore the insurance industry but we ignore carbon pollution at our peril and subsidized it long enough. it's past time to wake up from our sleep walking. this vote is a test whether we
pass or fail is a measure of us. i urge that we support this amendment what will allow to us put a price on carbon and protect the american people. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: i would have some hesitation anyway about opposing my good friend from rhode island but to have to oppose the pope is really ominous. i know the pope also mentioned more times than he mentioned carbon tax, helping the poor. and this amendment says that if there is a carbon fee, we'll use it to reduce the federal deficit, tax rates, to have other direct benefits. i would just say, mr. president, when the poor family can't pay their utility bill, the family that's the last family to get the new refrigerator, the family that's the last family to get the insulated windows, the family that's the last family to insulate their ceiling, i guess we tell them there's going to be
some federal tax rates, family who can't pay your utility bill that will be reduced, and, by the way, there are other direct benefits that you might be able to use whenever you don't have heat or you don't have cooling. this is a tax that slows down our ability to compete. the most vulnerable among us are the most impacted by this. and i oppose this. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mrs. murray: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote: